State of the Nigerian Mobile Eco-system

The mobile ecosystem in Nigeria sure is changing – and almost too fast to keep up with.

Nokia has been in the news of late and they appear to be a key pivot in this change. For the first time, a manufacturer is taking pre-orders for a mobile device (the Nokia N8). For the first time in Nigeria, a manufacturer is meeting with developers, listening and actively supporting them. For the first time, we have a Nigerian-made application pre-installed on a smartphone (GTB app on the Nokia N8).

State of the Nigerian Mobile Eco-system 1

To add more spice, for the first time, a manufacturer is interested in sending out review units of their devices. Back at Mobifest 2010, I had spoken with Praveen Shetty, Head of Solutions at Nokia West Africa about getting review devices to Mobility Nigeria. At our meeting yesterday, he confirmed that he would work towards getting a Nokia N8 across to me for review once the first shipment arrives.

So, we can keep our fingers crossed and expect a detailed N8 review, all other things being equal.

I had a brief feel of the N8 at Nokia yesterday (both Praveen and Teemu had one each). Seeing and handling one in the flesh left good impressions. I can’t answer any questions on the N8 now, as my time with it was brief, but I am certainly looking forward to a review.

Nokia is not the only company rocking the boat. While I also cannot give details, I have it on good authority (this is not a rumour but a done deal) that the iPhone is coming to a Nigerian network soon. No; I can’t tell beyond this, so don’t ask.

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Moving away from devices, there appears to be some progress on the m-commerce front. I gather that VTN is test-running their m-payment platform right now. MMIT is also at an advanced stage, having sucessfully sent money across national borders. The GTBank app pre-installed on the Nokia N8 already has me looking forward to using the device.

Once the hurdles of regulations are crossed, we can start rocking. We are looking forward to seeing home-grown apps and m-commerce blossoming.

The Nigerian mobile ecosystem is about to explode. Exciting days are ahead of us. Welcome to new possibilities!

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

16 thoughts on “State of the Nigerian Mobile Eco-system

  • October 22, 2010 at 11:44 am
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    Nokia knows it cant afford to ignore Nigeria in its quest for global mobile phone dominance. Kudos should be given to it for taking all these initiatives……
    Yomi, you may be starting another round of speculations on this site regarding your assertion about the iphone coming to a one of the networks soon.

  • October 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm
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    So anxious to see how it all unfolds.

    Nigerian apps,Nokia N8 review(by a Nigeria and for Nigerians)and the iPhone via a carrier in Nigeria. Cant wait.

  • October 22, 2010 at 1:48 pm
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    Yomi, you make me squirm with joy at the state of development in the Nigerian mobile platform. So many things are happening so quickly that it is difficult to pause but to persistently thirst for more mobile news!

    The Nigerian market is getting matured no doubt. Nokia is pioneering things. I am so delighted and grateful to them. I feel we can now stand tall to grapple with other countries.

    The icing of the cake is that the iphone would soon be coming to Nigeria via a telecommunication Network. If it is true, I shall be more delighted. I just hope that it isn’t by an exclusivity deal as we have in the USA with the AT&T monopoly over iphone acquisition. I also hope that if it comes via any network that the price would be commensurate to what obtain in other countries. And what about Subsidizing it?

    I want to also start a guessing game now. The winner I promise to give a 750 recharge card. The iphone is a GSM handset so I start by saying that it is MTN!! Of course I am disqualified from winning, obviously!!

  • October 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm
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    Sorry to say, i think this is not the right thread to do that but if it is, permit me to say it’s etisalat.

  • October 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm
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    Let the wagers keep rolling in! Me, I bet that the network the iPhone is coming to is an upcoming MVNO named MobiNaija 😀

  • October 22, 2010 at 3:03 pm
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    I hope Yomi will help me moderate this and tell me the winner when the time is ripe so that I can send the Recharge card to him/her!

  • October 22, 2010 at 10:18 pm
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    Good news.
    Mobilitynigeria might just be the very first nigerian site to do a good hand on review on the N8. Nice work Yomi. I believe in your ability to deliver the goods.

    As for the network to bring in the iphone, sorry Yomi, MobiNaija Network is out 🙂
    It will have to be MTN

  • October 22, 2010 at 10:30 pm
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    @EyeBeeKay

    Nice articles.
    Lets see how things play out.

  • October 22, 2010 at 11:15 pm
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    Finally, after a lot of inertia, things are beginning to happen. Yeah these are exciting times. I believe things seems to be going too fast simply because previously they were not moving as fast as they should. Can you imagine that we are only getting the iPhone now. Cameroon and Niger had the iPhone for long. But it’s better late than never. At least I won’t have to use any hack to install apps from the appstore anymore.

    Talking about Nokia shipping with a GTB app is great, but I must say this a very big opportunity lost by interswitch and etranzact. If those two companies have their apps on the N8, not only GTB customers will take adavantage of it but almost anybody with an ATM card can use it.

    Or maybe it’s a lost opportunity by Nokia because it will help them sell more N8 units.

  • October 23, 2010 at 8:31 am
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    @IG
    Hope is not lost yet. We are talking of a symbian here, the apps for those coys could be developed and placed in the app store (Ovi Store) for download not only for N8 but for other solid nokia phones as well.

  • October 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm
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    Interswitch and etranzact might not be able to provide an app that easily because they deal more with service providers

  • October 23, 2010 at 4:17 pm
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    @bosun99uk, interswitch and etranzact already have java based mobile apps. They only decorate it with their partner banks’ brand colors. For example if you use Intercontinental’s iMobile app you are using an eTranzact app. My thought is that they make it bank agnostic by default and the user get’s to configure it with the information given to him by his bank. That is how eTranzact’s webpay interface works.

    All they have to do is make the mobile version also work the same way. They can also make it integrate more with the mobile platform (Symbian, android or Meego) instead of running it in an encapsulated environment i.e J2ME.

    What do you think ?

  • October 26, 2010 at 10:48 pm
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    Good moves nokia! Nigerians deserve that recognition atleast for being your huge market on the continent. Incidentally, GTbank happened to be my bank.What good begining?! N8 we are waiting…

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